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Southern California home sales jump 17% in October

Southern California’s housing market continued to sizzle for a fourth straight month in a dramatic rebound from sharp sales drops during the pandemic’s first 90 days.

With buyers clamoring to take advantage of record-low mortgage rates, the median price of a Southern California home jumped 14% in October to $605,000, the second-highest value on record, DQ News/CoreLogic reported Wednesday, Nov. 18. The median is the price at the midpoint of all transactions.

Prices in four of six counties in the region hit all-time highs. Records were recorded in the counties of Orange ($795,000), Los Angeles ($715,000) and San Bernardino ($400,000). San Diego County’s median of $650,000 tied the record set in September.

Sales, meanwhile, jumped 17% to 24,453 deals, the most for any month in more than three years. That’s also the most sales for an October since 2005.

Double-digit sales gains were reported in all six counties, ranging from 12.4% in Ventura County to 23.7% in Orange County.

Economists and other market watchers say record-low mortgage rates are drawing buyers to the market, who are competing for the lowest number of listings in 7 ½ years.

Rates for 30-year fixed mortgages averaged 2.84% on Thursday, according to Freddie Mac, after hitting 12 record lows since March.

The impact of falling rates was muted at first. The real estate market fell into a funk after Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered businesses to shut down and residents to shelter in their homes last spring. Sales fell 31.5% in April from the previous year’s levels and 45.1% in May.

By July, however, transactions began rising again.

Sellers, meanwhile, many fearful of opening their homes to strangers during the pandemic, pulled their homes from the market.

The number of Southern California homes for sale fell to 24,885 listings on Thursday, the lowest number since March 2013, figures from Reports On Housing show.

As a result, many listings are getting as many as 15 to 20 offers within hours of coming onto the market, said Christopher Foster, broker and owner of Foster Realty Group in Whittier.

“It’s out of control. It’s ridiculous,” Foster said. “There’s very little inventory, and you have pent-up demand.”

The turnaround, however, has been insufficient to offset last spring’s setback. CoreLogic recorded 186,251 home sales from January through October, the lowest tally for that period since 2011.

Here’s a breakdown of home sales and prices by housing type and by county:

  • Resale houses: 17,105 sold, up 16.4%; median price: $650,000, up 17.1%.
  • Resale condos: 5,562 sold, up 28.8%; median price: $505,000, up 11%.
  • New homes: 1,786 sold, down 5.3%; median price: $626,000, up 12.5%.
  • Los Angeles County: 7,601 sold, up 11.2%; median price: $715,000, up 15.3%.
  • Orange County: 3,779 sold, up 23.7%; median price: $795,000, up 10%.
  • Riverside County: 4,350 sold, up 17.8%; median price: $445,500, up 14%.
  • San Bernardino County: 3,299 sold, up 17%; median price: $400,000, up 14%.
  • San Diego County: 4,292 sold, up 22.9%; median price: $650,000, up 13%.
  • Ventura County: 1,132 sold, up 12.4%; median price: $655,000, up 12.9%.

Source: Orange County Register

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